14th Finance Commission arrives in Srinagar

SRINAGAR: The 14th Finance Commission led by Chairman Dr. Y.V. Reddy, along with the members of the Commission including Prof. Abhijit Sen, member Planning Commission of India, Sushma Nath, former Finance Secretary, Dr. M. Govind Rao, Director National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, besides Dr. Sudipto Mundle, former acting chairman of National Statistical Commission, arrived in Srinagar on Thursday on a two-day visit.
During their stay here, the Commission would hold deliberations with the state government, political parties and stakeholders for fixing the award to the state.
Soon after their arrival, the Commission interacted with representatives of Rural & Urban Local Bodies, according to an official spokesman.
The Commissioner/Secretary Rural Development Department informed that out of the total 4128 Panchayat Halqas, construction of as many as 1678 Panchayat Ghars were undertaken during the 13th Finance Commission, however, 265 Panchayats still are without buildings requiring funds to the tune of Rs. 795 Crores with a unit cost of Rs. 30.00 lakhs per building are required for their construction. The demand for the provision of honorarium of Panches and Sarpanches shall also be taken into account during the recommendations of the Commission, he added.
The representatives of the Rural Local Bodies from all the three regions of the state put-forth their demands for effective functioning of the Panchayats including infrastructure developments, disaster management, sanitation, exploitation of the diverse climatic conditions besides augmentation of manpower. They also demanded various initiatives for boosting rural economy, besides generation of revenue for which the 14th Financial Commission has to provide liberal funding for strengthening the rural infrastructure.
A Power Point presentation was also made on the occasion highlighting the achievements made in the rural sector during the 13th Finance Commission.
The 14th Finance Commission also interacted with the representatives of Urban Local Bodies. Deliberating on the achievements of the Department, Commissioner/Secretary Urban Development Department Satish Nehru through a Power Point Presentation gave a detailed account of the functioning of the department. He said that Urban areas are the engines of economic growth contributing substantially to state GDP as secondary and tertiary sectors are almost entirely located in the Urban areas. However, due to rapid urbanization and unprecedented migration, the urban areas possess limited civic amenities.
Nehru while giving out the thrust areas to be taken care of informed that development of public utilities including public conveniences, parks, community halls, parking spaces, bus stands, lane and by-lanes besides sewerage, drainage, water supply, urban transport, solid waste management, urban poverty alleviation and conservation of water bodies shall be prioritized. He also highlighted the initiatives like web. Portal designed by H&UDD for providing single platform for all the urban local bodies of the state by providing online birth certificates, birth and death registration, building permission status for citizen and redressal of public grievances.
He said that against the projection of Rs. 1339 Crores during the 13th Financial Commission only Rs. 204 Cr were awarded.
However, for the preparation and implementation of city sanitation plans, upgradation of civic amenities, creation of multi-layer parking lots and shopping complexes, decongestion of urban areas, providing sewerage network, development of new housing stocks besides preservation-cum-conservation of water bodies in the State, funds to the tune of Rs. 4795 Cr were proposed to the Commission.
Later the members of the Finance Commission while deliberating on various demands put-forth by the representatives urged that the commission shall supplement the initiatives of the State Finance Commission.
Speaking on the occasion the Chairman Finance Commission while appreciating the significant issues raised on the occasion assured that for developing administrative infrastructure and other initiatives the suggestions put-forth shall be taken care of.